Loudoun bikers stop sign charges dismissed; Landau successfully represents "MS-8" Lovettsville cyclists in Leesburg Traffic Court today

that had been prepared and had reached an agreement with the prosecutor. Both of his clients pleaded guilty to having insufficient reflectors/lights on their bicycles, which resulted in a much smaller fine, court costs and no points for a moving violation.

Mr. Landau offered to represent these bicycle riders “pro bono,” (at no charge to them) in their cases today. The “TriathlonTrialLawyer” as he is also known, felt strongly that the bikers should not have been ticketed for making a rolling stop that day in the Lovettsville and Purcellville. Interestingly, one of the eight ticketed cyclists was present in court but chose to represent himself. He plead guilty to the original charge, was fined several hundred dollars in addition to court fees, and got 4-points on his record for disregarding a stop sign, with no mention on his DMV record that he was on a bicycle and not in his car !

But none-of this would have happened if the Commonwealth of Virginia had adopted the “Idaho Stop Law”, which permits cyclists to roll up to a stop sign, yield the right of way, and then proceed without stopping. Virginia should adopts laws like this, which make the roadways safer for cyclists and motorists, while at the same time freeing up the traffic courts. The “MS-8” were not riding dangerously or causing accidents or injuries. Bicyclists all over Virginia should be aware that law enforcement authorities can (and do) strictly enforce the stop sign law. Even a “track stand” stop may be insufficient for some officers, such that a cyclist who is able to balance, with no forward motion, but whose foot does not leave the pedal or touch the ground, might be given a ticket by zealous sheriffs and prosecuted by Commonwealths Attorneys under the strict letter of the existing laws.

44 responses on “Loudoun bikers stop sign charges dismissed; Landau successfully represents "MS-8" Lovettsville cyclists in Leesburg Traffic Court today

  1. Doug

    That’s great of Doug to offer those services. Loudoun police have been aggressive enforcers of stop signs on other rides (Reston Century). Best of luck to him and the riders tomorrow.

    I saw you and Doug a week or so ago on the Thursday night RBC ride from Herndon. I think he was on the same #4 ride I was on. I didn’t recognize him or see you until I was heading home after the ride. I just don’t recognize people well under bike helmets and behind sunglasses.

    Did you guys know about the CBE cycling club? There has been info published in the Shofar and there have been rides about every Sunday morning. Next one is this Sunday from the CBE lot – 15 and 25 milers based on the RBC Tuesday nite routes are planned.

    All the best, Ride safe!

    Steve (SENT AS AN E-MAIL)

  2. Doug

    That’s great of Doug to offer those services. Loudoun police have been aggressive enforcers of stop signs on other rides (Reston Century). Best of luck to him and the riders tomorrow.

    I saw you and Doug a week or so ago on the Thursday night RBC ride from Herndon. I think he was on the same #4 ride I was on. I didn’t recognize him or see you until I was heading home after the ride. I just don’t recognize people well under bike helmets and behind sunglasses.

    Did you guys know about the CBE cycling club? There has been info published in the Shofar and there have been rides about every Sunday morning. Next one is this Sunday from the CBE lot – 15 and 25 milers based on the RBC Tuesday nite routes are planned.

    All the best, Ride safe!

    Steve (SENT AS AN E-MAIL)

  3. Champe Burnley

    Why did they plead guilty to having improper lights and reflectors? Virginia Code doesn’t call for lights or reflectors unless the cyclist is riding between sunrise and sunset. (§ 46.2-1015)

  4. Champe Burnley

    Why did they plead guilty to having improper lights and reflectors? Virginia Code doesn’t call for lights or reflectors unless the cyclist is riding between sunrise and sunset. (§ 46.2-1015)

  5. P Kohler

    Typical. Yet another example of cyclists demanding equal rights to the road. Yet peevishly acting like children when it comes to equal responsibilities as road users when it comes to obeying the traffic code. It’s a STOP sign. Period. It doesn’t require thought or interpretation. Merely obedience. If you don’t agree with the law, then change it. Otherwise, OBEY it. Did you ever think cyclists who run through stop signs are just as likely to hit another cyclist? Oh, I don’t drive. Been cycling in the Washington area since 1965. And fed up with cry baby irresponsible morons calling themselves cyclists.

  6. P Kohler

    Typical. Yet another example of cyclists demanding equal rights to the road. Yet peevishly acting like children when it comes to equal responsibilities as road users when it comes to obeying the traffic code. It’s a STOP sign. Period. It doesn’t require thought or interpretation. Merely obedience. If you don’t agree with the law, then change it. Otherwise, OBEY it. Did you ever think cyclists who run through stop signs are just as likely to hit another cyclist? Oh, I don’t drive. Been cycling in the Washington area since 1965. And fed up with cry baby irresponsible morons calling themselves cyclists.

  7. Debbie

    Lights? For a day ride? Give me a break.

    It’s a darned shame that Loudoun police were not helping cyclists through the intersection, but were ticketing them! I have ridden numerous organized rides in Lancaster County, PA, and the police there HELP cyclists by stopping traffic and waving us through!

    Loudoun County’s priorities are badly bass-ackwards. They should be helping people do these runs/rides/other charity events. Where’s their humanity? Sadly missing.

  8. Debbie

    Lights? For a day ride? Give me a break.

    It’s a darned shame that Loudoun police were not helping cyclists through the intersection, but were ticketing them! I have ridden numerous organized rides in Lancaster County, PA, and the police there HELP cyclists by stopping traffic and waving us through!

    Loudoun County’s priorities are badly bass-ackwards. They should be helping people do these runs/rides/other charity events. Where’s their humanity? Sadly missing.

  9. Helen Zitomer

    I’d like to better understand the legal manuever practiced here – it sounds like “pleading guilty to a lesser charge”, not literally to the reflector infraction. How did the circumstances of the stop sign infraction impact the bargain reached with the prosecutor? If one has a commuter tank fitted with lights, reflectors, bells, whistles, and all the rest, has one actually forfeited a potential bargaining chip in court?

    And needless to say, kudos to Mr. Landau.

  10. Helen Zitomer

    I’d like to better understand the legal manuever practiced here – it sounds like “pleading guilty to a lesser charge”, not literally to the reflector infraction. How did the circumstances of the stop sign infraction impact the bargain reached with the prosecutor? If one has a commuter tank fitted with lights, reflectors, bells, whistles, and all the rest, has one actually forfeited a potential bargaining chip in court?
    And needless to say, kudos to Mr. Landau.

  11. James Rosar

    Anytime three or more cyclists are riding close together, they should not be expected to fully stop at a stop sign. This is a thoroughly practical matter, as any one bicycle in a group coming to an unexpected stop ahead of another in close proximity will cause an immediate and substantial hazard to all other cyclists immediately behind. Group stops have never been taught or been expected before, and it would be specifically hazardous and dangerous to such groups to suddenly begin such enforcement. Rigorous enforcement would effectively outlaw group bicycling in the affected jurisdiction, and bring national attention to bear on such an action.

    A group of bicycles do not behave as an intentional unit, but they do depend on collective actions. Thirty people riding a bus can easily stop as one, as they have one driver and one wheeled frame. Thirty bicycles are a flock, and each individual is not acting or responding independently; their collective safety depends upon that, and as such needs to be accommodated. A bicycle by its nature is stable while in motion. When it comes to a complete stop it loses stability and control; the transitions from moving to stopped and back again creates hazard at each instance. The probability of injury from group stops would almost certainly far exceed the probability of injury from not fully stopping, as is currently practiced. Ideal stop compliance would be far more hazardous than a collective yield.

  12. James Rosar

    Anytime three or more cyclists are riding close together, they should not be expected to fully stop at a stop sign. This is a thoroughly practical matter, as any one bicycle in a group coming to an unexpected stop ahead of another in close proximity will cause an immediate and substantial hazard to all other cyclists immediately behind. Group stops have never been taught or been expected before, and it would be specifically hazardous and dangerous to such groups to suddenly begin such enforcement. Rigorous enforcement would effectively outlaw group bicycling in the affected jurisdiction, and bring national attention to bear on such an action.

    A group of bicycles do not behave as an intentional unit, but they do depend on collective actions. Thirty people riding a bus can easily stop as one, as they have one driver and one wheeled frame. Thirty bicycles are a flock, and each individual is not acting or responding independently; their collective safety depends upon that, and as such needs to be accommodated. A bicycle by its nature is stable while in motion. When it comes to a complete stop it loses stability and control; the transitions from moving to stopped and back again creates hazard at each instance. The probability of injury from group stops would almost certainly far exceed the probability of injury from not fully stopping, as is currently practiced. Ideal stop compliance would be far more hazardous than a collective yield.

  13. Mike

    They weren’t originally cited for the reflectors. They plead to a lessor charge to avoid the trial for not stopping at the stop sign.

  14. Mike

    They weren’t originally cited for the reflectors. They plead to a lessor charge to avoid the trial for not stopping at the stop sign.

  15. Tom Ezell

    Per Mr. Rosar’s comments on group stops:

    there is no law in the country which permits a group of bicyclists to behave in the same manner as a swarm of bees. Each cyclist is individually responsible to comply with traffic law when riding on the public roads, to include obeying all traffic signs and signals. Within a group, you manage that by communicating between all the members of a group, “Slowing… stop sign coming up!” and “Stopping”. Each rider then yields as needed and clears the intersection on his own.

    These and other skills are taught in the League of American Bicyclists’ Group Riding Skills Clinic, a course that, by the way, was specifically developed to support safety in the MS-150 rides.

  16. Tom Ezell

    Per Mr. Rosar’s comments on group stops:

    there is no law in the country which permits a group of bicyclists to behave in the same manner as a swarm of bees. Each cyclist is individually responsible to comply with traffic law when riding on the public roads, to include obeying all traffic signs and signals. Within a group, you manage that by communicating between all the members of a group, “Slowing… stop sign coming up!” and “Stopping”. Each rider then yields as needed and clears the intersection on his own.

    These and other skills are taught in the League of American Bicyclists’ Group Riding Skills Clinic, a course that, by the way, was specifically developed to support safety in the MS-150 rides.

  17. Doug

    From an e-mail received today:

    Was in Herndon a few hours ago (on bike) exploring some neighborhoods near the DQ and happened to follow some bike cops for a few blocks and they did not even bother with an “Idaho Stop”.

  18. Doug

    From an e-mail received today:

    Was in Herndon a few hours ago (on bike) exploring some neighborhoods near the DQ and happened to follow some bike cops for a few blocks and they did not even bother with an “Idaho Stop”.

  19. James

    It would be nice if the Police would focus on ticketing drivers of cars for making unsafe passes on cyclists! Isn’t the law 36-inches in Virginia? I get buzzed by a car almost every time i’m on the road.

  20. James

    It would be nice if the Police would focus on ticketing drivers of cars for making unsafe passes on cyclists! Isn’t the law 36-inches in Virginia? I get buzzed by a car almost every time i’m on the road.

  21. Paul C.

    >>

    Typical. Yet another example of cyclists demanding equal rights to the road. Yet peevishly acting like children when it comes to equal responsibilities as road users when it comes to obeying the traffic code.

    >>

    Ohhh STFU!

    Just about EVERY DAMN MOTORIST I see, exceeds the speed limit, regularly.

    Why aren’t you whining about them “peevishly acting like children”?

  22. Paul C.

    >>
    Typical. Yet another example of cyclists demanding equal rights to the road. Yet peevishly acting like children when it comes to equal responsibilities as road users when it comes to obeying the traffic code.
    >>

    Ohhh STFU!
    Just about EVERY DAMN MOTORIST I see, exceeds the speed limit, regularly.

    Why aren’t you whining about them “peevishly acting like children”?

  23. Jodanyo

    Video animation argument for Idaho Stops in website link…

    IMO: Rolling stops are a case where motorized vehicles differ from bicycles, and the law should make the distinction. What should be illegal is cyclists blowing through stop signs unsafely, and swarm behavior on group rides.

    I don’t understand assigning points; that doesn’t seem right – what if a cyclist doesn’t drive? Throw her in jail?? Bastinado?

    Exchanging the offense for a lesser one does not sound like a win for anyone except the affected cyclists’ wallets and driving records. And now I’m not clear – do I need to put reflectors and lights on my bike for daytime riding? What kind of nonsense is that?

  24. Jodanyo

    Video animation argument for Idaho Stops in website link…

    IMO: Rolling stops are a case where motorized vehicles differ from bicycles, and the law should make the distinction. What should be illegal is cyclists blowing through stop signs unsafely, and swarm behavior on group rides.

    I don’t understand assigning points; that doesn’t seem right – what if a cyclist doesn’t drive? Throw her in jail?? Bastinado?

    Exchanging the offense for a lesser one does not sound like a win for anyone except the affected cyclists’ wallets and driving records. And now I’m not clear – do I need to put reflectors and lights on my bike for daytime riding? What kind of nonsense is that?

  25. Dave Simmons

    I agree with P Kohler’s advice from July 8th– Cyclists so readily shout the cry of “share the road” until something like this happens. This article is written with a clear and ridiculous bias for the lawyer and paints a very lopsided picture. Stop signs are meant for stopping, no matter the vehicle.

    Bicycling is a sport conducive to whiny, over-spending elitists with a swollen sense of entitlement.

    It was very respectable of the lawyer to work pro-bono, but it’s just silly that with the right lawyer, or sometimes, enough money, guilty people can get off from things both little and big.

  26. Dave Simmons

    I agree with P Kohler’s advice from July 8th– Cyclists so readily shout the cry of “share the road” until something like this happens. This article is written with a clear and ridiculous bias for the lawyer and paints a very lopsided picture. Stop signs are meant for stopping, no matter the vehicle.

    Bicycling is a sport conducive to whiny, over-spending elitists with a swollen sense of entitlement.
    It was very respectable of the lawyer to work pro-bono, but it’s just silly that with the right lawyer, or sometimes, enough money, guilty people can get off from things both little and big.

  27. Doug

    Mr. Simmons: Thank you for your comment. What about when cycling is for transportation ? Getting from point A to point B. In Europe there are special lanes, tunnels and lights for the multitudes of cyclists that use 2 wheels to get to work each day. It could be said that it is American motorists who have the “sense of entitlement.” As for “over-spending elitists,” I will match up the most over the top cyclist with an owner of a Hummer any day; and not just for expense to buy, but to fuel, the impact on the environment and space…

    As for the suggestion that with the “right lawyer…enough money, etc.,” I was not the “right lawyer” for the job – I spend my days helping injured cyclists, motorists and disabled workers. As I told NBC News & Spokes Magazine, I almost never go to Criminal Court or Traffic Court. As for money, I was called upon for help, and did so “pro bono.” That means for no payment. I am not seeking future cases in Traffic or Criminal Court. Unlike other lawyers, I do not advertise in the Yellow Pages, Television, Phone Books, Radio, Billboards, Newspapers, Banners Ads, etc.

  28. Doug

    Mr. Simmons: Thank you for your comment. What about when cycling is for transportation ? Getting from point A to point B. In Europe there are special lanes, tunnels and lights for the multitudes of cyclists that use 2 wheels to get to work each day. It could be said that it is American motorists who have the “sense of entitlement.” As for “over-spending elitists,” I will match up the most over the top cyclist with an owner of a Hummer any day; and not just for expense to buy, but to fuel, the impact on the environment and space…

    As for the suggestion that with the “right lawyer…enough money, etc.,” I was not the “right lawyer” for the job – I spend my days helping injured cyclists, motorists and disabled workers. As I told NBC News & Spokes Magazine, I almost never go to Criminal Court or Traffic Court. As for money, I was called upon for help, and did so “pro bono.” That means for no payment. I am not seeking future cases in Traffic or Criminal Court. Unlike other lawyers, I do not advertise in the Yellow Pages, Television, Phone Books, Radio, Billboards, Newspapers, Banners Ads, etc.

  29. Elizabeth

    I am a new cyclist and it is a great sport and great exercise (that of which I think some of our law enforcement should be participating in). I am learning the rules and trying to abide by them. As we all know, rules and laws are,obviously, made to be broken and are every day as we can clearly see when we watch the news. Terrorist kills 270 people in a plane bombing and is let out of prison. Michael Vick kills hundreds of animals, illegally, and he is supposingly rehabilitated and can go free and come back to professional sports.Oh, and I think he had to pay a million dollars, WOW!! A cyclist rolls through a stop sign when there are no cars coming, during a charity event, and gets a ticket, fined and points on record. Where is the justice? We need more lawyers like Landou. Great job!

    I respect the road and am concerned about my safety as well as the safety of others, but I do not agree that cyclists should come to a complete stop if there are no cars or pedestrians coming. It is more dangerous to all involved to do that. I respece law enforcement and am grateful for their protection every day, but I do feel that some of them are on power trips and what it boils down to is pure harassment. Be vigilant about catching people who are vandalizing neighborhoods and drivers that are running stop signs, driving like idiots and endangering others because

    they are on their cell phones and in a big hurry. I live on a busy street in Loudoun County with a stop sign in plain view by my house. I wish I had a dollar for every time a car does not come to a complete stop. Life would be good.

    I think motorists and cyclists can co-exist together and be patient with one another. I happen to be both of those people. I also think that we all, law enforcement included, can be reasonable and rational and act like adults.

  30. Elizabeth

    I am a new cyclist and it is a great sport and great exercise (that of which I think some of our law enforcement should be participating in). I am learning the rules and trying to abide by them. As we all know, rules and laws are,obviously, made to be broken and are every day as we can clearly see when we watch the news. Terrorist kills 270 people in a plane bombing and is let out of prison. Michael Vick kills hundreds of animals, illegally, and he is supposingly rehabilitated and can go free and come back to professional sports.Oh, and I think he had to pay a million dollars, WOW!! A cyclist rolls through a stop sign when there are no cars coming, during a charity event, and gets a ticket, fined and points on record. Where is the justice? We need more lawyers like Landou. Great job!

    I respect the road and am concerned about my safety as well as the safety of others, but I do not agree that cyclists should come to a complete stop if there are no cars or pedestrians coming. It is more dangerous to all involved to do that. I respece law enforcement and am grateful for their protection every day, but I do feel that some of them are on power trips and what it boils down to is pure harassment. Be vigilant about catching people who are vandalizing neighborhoods and drivers that are running stop signs, driving like idiots and endangering others because
    they are on their cell phones and in a big hurry. I live on a busy street in Loudoun County with a stop sign in plain view by my house. I wish I had a dollar for every time a car does not come to a complete stop. Life would be good.

    I think motorists and cyclists can co-exist together and be patient with one another. I happen to be both of those people. I also think that we all, law enforcement included, can be reasonable and rational and act like adults.

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